My most popular post is 7 tips to make noisy goats quiet. It’s an old post that I wrote back when I was just getting my feet wet in the world of goats.
It’s now been 2 years that I’ve had goats and I am about to depart some wisdom all up in here for those of you who desperately want your goats to be quiet.
Here it comes!
You don’t make your goats quiet. You live with it or sell them.
Wow. That was harsh. But sadly true.
Goats will complain about everything. If you want to calm the noise parade down a notch here are some of my suggestions.
Make sure they have adequate space.
If the pen is too small they’ll complain. They want to run around, and dance, and dive off of things. Make sure they have the room to do that.
Make sure they have adequate food.
Goats love to eat. They want to eat all of the time. (Ahem, just like me.) If they have nothing to eat they will yell. Make sure they have a large enough pen that allows for grazing. If they’re on a dry lot, like mine, or if you’re in a drought, like we are currently, then free choice hay is your friend. There is also kitchen scraps, weeds from your garden, or branches from trees that you want to take down. Give them all the food you can. Our neighbors even save their kitchen scraps for us.
Look at your breed.
Do you have a noisy breed? Some are just known for noise. Which is why I would never have a Nubian. Rumor has it they are the nosiest ones out there. I notice it even in our herd. Sophie is a pygmy mixed doe who hardly ever makes a noise. Chelsea is a purebred Nigerian Dwarf who I can’t ever shut up! Phoebe is also a Nigerian dwarf and she inspired the post I Hate Goats. (Another of my more popular posts).
Can they see you?
When we built our pens we thought it would be so nice to be able to see everything from the house. Which it is in some respects. But if we can see them, sadly they can see us. I’m usually held hostage in my home and (no word of a lie) sneak out of my house so they don’t notice me if I have to go out. I’m not even kidding. I’ll sneak out the side door, make a break for my car or the garden or the mailbox, just so they don’t see me. If they so much as catch a glimpse they just go cra-zay! Whenever my front door opens they know I’m there. It’s actually somewhat humorous because they know the sound of the screen door slam. They hear me when I come out and yell and yell and yell. And as soon as I go back inside and the door slams again the yelling completely stops. On a dime. Oh she’s gone now, we’ll get her next time. I = food. Remember point 2, they must have food. If they have food but are still yelling at me they simply want attention and treats. Which I rarely give to them in the first place and never when they are shouting. Which leads us into point 5.
DO NOT REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR!!!!!!
My hubby is terrible for this. Oh they’re crying I’ll just give them more hay or more treats, or I’ll go over and rub their necks. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD NO! If they are yelling (which is bad behavior) and you give them a treat or go and pet them then you have given them a reward. Ergo you just rewarded bad behavior. They won’t remember much but they will remember that. So the next time they start yelling and you don’t give them a raisin they’re like what the heck where’s my raisin and thus they yell louder and longer because goodness gracious you gave them a raisin ONE TIME 6 YEARS AGO when they were yelling and dog gone-it you had better do it again. That is their reasoning. For the love of all things good and pure do not reward bad behavior. Do not allow them to push you around. Do not allow them to jump up on you, do not allow their horns anywhere near you (if they’re horned), and do not let them think that yelling is going to provide them with anything good. Ignore them. Don’t even look at them. If the yelling is too unbearable (believe me I’ve been there) then lock them up in their stall, or squirt them in the face with a water gun (which is oddly therapeutic). Do not give in to their demands.
When all else fails be prepared to sell them.
No one likes noisy goats. If you have 100 acres and can stick them about 50 acres out so you never have to look at them that’s fine. I get it, they are exasperating. But if you are like me living on 3 acres with neighbors all around consider selling your goats. Get a less noisy breed, or wait until you have a larger piece of land or have several paddocks made up for rotational grazing (even then, be prepared. They don’t like change). Take a really close look at why you have your goats, what they provide for your family, and if they are necessary. For us the benefits of having them outweigh the pure annoyance they bring to my life so they stay, but that is our situation. Yours could be completely different. Really think on it.
Look at the times they are yelling.
There could be some perfectly simple explanations for the noise. Like is your doe in heat? Chelsea is a screamer in just everyday life, but when she is in heat she is unbearable with the noise. Thankfully a heat doesn’t last very long, so if your doe only seems to be really noisy 1 or 2 days every 18 days or so it is probably her heat cycle. Or do you milk your does? If it’s 5:30 and I’m not there to milk Phoebe she yells to remind me that her udder is full and she would really like it emptied. Is it food time? My goats know when they get their grain and when I come around to refill the hay racks. Again food is everything to a goat. Are they out of water? Or is the water bucket too dirty? They’re fussy when it comes to the cleanliness of their water bucket and won’t drink dirty water. Make sure they have clean water at all times. Is it too hot outside? Mine get crabby when the temperature is over 30° Celsius (which it has been all summer). Is it rainy? Goats hate water. Are the bugs bad? Who wouldn’t be annoyed with 10 thousand mosquitoes all up in your business every second of the day? Think like the goat and try to see what could be pushing them to be miserable and shout for attention or a change. Correct the situation if possible.
That’s all I’ve got for you. The rest is between you and your goats. They are stubborn cantankerous creatures that will drive you to the brink of insanity. But they are kind of cute. I guess.
Good luck my friend. You’re going to need it.
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